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James
user 7868644
London, GB
Post #: 198
Hi all,

I'd like to propose an idea that came from a quote (heard during an interview between David Simon, creator of The Wire, and Alec Baldwin, on the wonderful podcast - Here's The Thing which I heartily recommend) about seeking happiness without burden.

It occurred to me that religion in all its forms, whether it's moderate, strict, extreme or relaxed, is a burden that parents pass onto their children. If children grew up in a vacuum, that is to say, they grew up without any influence of tradition or culture, it would be hard to believe they would automatically invent the kind of ridiculous myths and traditions that are passed on from generation to generation within the bubble of religion (food laws, marriage rituals, birth rites etc).

Therefore my conclusion is that religion is a burden that parents pass on to their children, mostly innocently, that inhibits that child's potential for the maximum happiness possible.

My own journey has been a rude awakening - about how tough life can be and how utterly ridiculous it seems to me that parents would want to make it any harder or any less enjoyable for their children.

Would anyone agree with this idea, or care to comment?
Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 1,037
This is why we should have, as they do in Sweden for example, a standard secular curriculum. You can't stop parents telling their kids all kinds of rubbish at home (and that could be anything from religious non-sense to conspiracy theories. I think one of the rights we should be fighting for this century is the right for everyone, and especially children, to a secular life.

This is why we've been talking about the fact in this country religious rights usually trump children's rights. Here's a useful thread on the subject: We must give up faith in our religious schools
Jason
SweynTUV
London, GB
Post #: 442
Seems right to me James. Those parents who do pass their religion on to their children just can't be seeing the religion for what it is, i.e. a cognitive "virus", a self-replicating idea (or complex of ideas) that has its own 'fitness' in the evolutionary sense. The reasons it gets passed on are not the hosts reasons and it is to not to the host's benefit. It is to the benefit of the thing that is getting replicated, in this case, faith.

The faith "virus" comes in a variety of forms, but they all seem to make a priority out of "infecting" the next generation. Once you carry the faith "virus" you will feel that you have a duty towards your child to bring them into the faith so that they will be saved from whatever ghastly fate awaits unbelievers. I don't think happiness in this life counts for much in that world view. Thinking about being educated like Johnny Scaramanga or by the Christian Brothers, nobody could enjoy an upbringing like that, and yet people go through it and then put their children through it too. I don't imagine they are sadists, they just feel that they have to do it to be good parents.

It's all desperately sad and a cycle that we are all doing our bit to break because, as you say, religion is a burden. When people claim that their religion brings them happiness, I think what they actually mean is that it alleviates their anxiety about not having an obvious purpose to their life and ultimately dying. They forget that religions also do a lot to create that anxiety. They also assume that if they feel that they need their religion, that their child must need it too. Those children that I know that have been brought up without religion teaching them to be full of existential angst seem to do just fine.

It's easy to be tough on parents laying this burden on their children, but we need to remember that 99.99% of them were given the faith virus when they were too young to defend themselves. Like anyone with an affliction they deserve our sympathy and our help to see things more clearly. That's how we will break the cycle.
Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 1,038
It's easy to be tough on parents laying this burden on their children, but we need to remember that 99.99% of them were given the faith virus when they were too young to defend themselves.
Or put another way: the abused are the most likely to become abusers.
Jason
SweynTUV
London, GB
Post #: 444
It's easy to be tough on parents laying this burden on their children, but we need to remember that 99.99% of them were given the faith virus when they were too young to defend themselves.
Or put another way: the abused are the most likely to become abusers.
Quite
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 2,475

It occurred to me that religion in all its forms, whether it's moderate, strict, extreme or relaxed, is a burden that parents pass onto their children.
A burden - good way to put it James. Couldn't agree more

If children grew up in a vacuum, that is to say, they grew up without any influence of tradition or culture, it would be hard to believe they would automatically invent the kind of ridiculous myths and traditions that are passed on from generation to generation within the bubble of religion (food laws, marriage rituals, birth rites etc).
Unfortunately our brains are 'faulty' in this regard and I think the general scientific anthropological etc view is that we are pre-disposed to coming up with crap to 'make sense of it all'. But if faith were persona non grata, then we might have a chance to immunise ourselves against it.

Therefore my conclusion is that religion is a burden that parents pass on to their children, mostly innocently, that inhibits that child's potential for the maximum happiness possible.

My own journey has been a rude awakening - about how tough life can be and how utterly ridiculous it seems to me that parents would want to make it any harder or any less enjoyable for their children.

Most parents don't want to make it harder, but the faith virus inhibits their ability to think in this regard. You might have seen this LAAG campaign.

The State should be there to protect us from others, especially when we are not in a position to choose or do anything about it. Children should therefore be protected from parents too. Adoption laws have been so ridiculous that even very responsible and suitable parents couldn't adopt for trivial 'reasons', so its obviously obvious to society/govt that children should get special protections. Yet natural born children get virtually no protection from birth parents - any idiot, any offender, any pervert can have children. And if you ever speak to parents about child protection laws such as making it illegal to smoke around children, they'll generally say "oh but the State shouldn't interfere". But it already does e.g. children must all get an education, not be deprived of medical care, so why not extend that to protection from belief burdens too? The answer is of course that it's indicative of the "hands-off" position that faith/religion has - it is exempted from the usual laws. The law was changed quite recently so that you can't smack children ( and leave a mark! ...a stupid distinction but at least it's a step) ...and we need to have this extended to mental abuse also.

That's why we recently launched 'Child and Animal Rights above Religious Rites' as one of our 3 major campaigns. As Adrian says, this country and others don't seem to recognise the rights of the child. Even the UN declaration doesn't cover this. We're woefully behind on child and animal rights - and yet again when it comes to the moral and decent thing being blocked - it's mostly down to religion that this is the case, and those apologists who enable it to continue.

Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 1,040
The UN declarations are out of date and need reform. For example, the Bill of Human Rights is the wrong title and sentiment. It should be Bill of Human Rights AND Responsibilities. In other words "you have the right to have children but the responsibility to do so when you can give them the support they will need for a decent life". There is very much an air of rights with no responsibility in our society certainly. It's not helpful.

So rewrite of all their declarations would be a good opportunity to correct all of these issues.
James
user 7868644
London, GB
Post #: 200
Georgi wrote 'The State should protect us'. Exactly. It reminds me that people are fragile, flawed and just want the best for their loved ones. Sometimes (a lot, when it comes to religion), people get it wrong - which is why the law needs to be upheld to protect those who need protecting (children!).

I hope one day, religious rights play second fiddle to human rights. WITHOUT question.
Richard F
user 2543752
London, GB
Post #: 1,146
"Unfortunately our brains are 'faulty' in this regard and I think the general scientific anthropological etc view is that we are pre-disposed to coming up with crap to 'make sense of it all'. But if faith were persona non grata, then we might have a chance to immunise ourselves against it. "

Mmmmm! Didn't I say something similar to this (or exactly this, actually) a year or so ago but was told that I was wrong?

Mmmmm! Life is interesting, isn't it? As he mutters into his tea cup... remember?

Btw, completely agree with the above.
Jenna
user 57987652
London, GB
Post #: 8
Interesting. Do you mean that if religion went up in smoke, we'd invent it all again? That's frightening. I suppose the morman cult is quite new and isn't it about aliens or something? Maybe if we invented new religion type cults they would be more like this. Maybe the unknown will always make some people think of gods.
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